New revelations show Frontex working with Libyan Coast Guard
Quotes from Tineke Strik & Erik Marquardt
Today, revelations from a team of journalists, appears to show that the EU border Agency Frontex is coordinating with the Libyan Coast Guard to engage in illegal "pullbacks", stopping refugees and migrants from crossing the Mediterranean into Europe. The Libyan Coast Guard has been accused of multiple human rights violations. Frontex had previously claimed to the European Parliament that the border agency does not work with the Libyan Coast Guard and only informs sea rescue control centres about sea rescue cases.
Erik Marquardt MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group, comments:
"These revelations seem to prove that Frontex is breaking international law. It gives the impression that the Executive Director of Frontex, Fabrice Leggeri misled the European Parliament. This investigation shows that Frontex is responsible for returning people to inhumane camps in Libya, including via lethal operations conducted by the Libyan Coast Guard. We are witnessing an unprecedented complicity between Libyan militias, Frontex and EU governments, in which the harshest crimes can go unpunished. The Commission cannot allow a situation where it is funding illegal pullbacks coordinated by Frontex in complicity with the Libyan Coast Guard."
Tineke Strik MEP, Greens/EFA Member of the Frontex Scrutiny Working Group, comments:
"This investigation confirms our concerns about the way Malta and Italy, but also Frontex, operate in the Mediterranean. The lives of migrants are being put at risk there: At sea but also after interception by the Libyan Coast Guard. Frontex and the EU Member States still seem to shift the responsibility to Libya, despite the fact that the miserable conditions under which the migrants end up in Libya are well known.
"The findings of this investigation also contradict the statement by Frontex that it does not cooperate with the Libyan Coast Guard. We have been trying to get clarification from the European Commission and Frontex, but these new findings show how necessary it is to get all the facts on the table. We need to make sure the EU is protecting migrants' human rights, not putting them at risk."
The analysis of 94 incidents in the Mediterranean shows that the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted fugitives at least 56 times, with evidence that in 20 cases a Frontex aircraft flew in close proximity. In 12 cases, Frontex spotted the fugitives' boats first. Due to the delayed arrival of the Libyan Coast Guard, at least 91 people have already died as a result of this practice.
The European Parliament has refused to sign off the "discharge" report or budget for Frontex for 2019, due to the border agency's alleged role in human rights abuses.
The European Parliament has set up a special Working Group to instigate allegations of human rights violations by Frontex.